find_rightbrain: (Martha)
[personal profile] find_rightbrain
Title: Welcome Back (to solid ground)
Characters/Pairing: Jack/Martha, mention of the Doctor and Torchwood
Word Count: 820
Rating: Worksafe
Summary: When Jack picks up the phone, all Martha says is, "I was on another planet today."
Notes: Episode tag for "The Doctor's Daughter". Written for [livejournal.com profile] comment_fic. ...it would not actually fit in a comment. :|
Disclaimer: Doctor Who, Torchwood, and all characters belong to the BBC. I am not affiliated with the BBC, and am not making any money from this.

When Jack picks up the phone, all Martha says is, "I was on another planet today."

He smiles faintly, and leans back in the chair behind his desk, eyes fixed on the ceiling. "ATMOS? Sontarans?" He'd have to be blind and entirely oblivious to have missed all of that, but underneath the words, there's another question neither of them wants to say or hear - the Doctor?

Martha doesn't say anything for a second too long, and when she does answer, he can hear the smile - he always can - but he can also hear that faint edge to her voice that means she's faking it. "For a start." She pauses a second, and then adds, "It was a very long day."

Jack has to wonder how long, exactly, "today" lasted for her. It's always hard to keep track of with temporal hopping, and somehow even more difficult when you're with the Doctor. He doesn't comment on any of that, though, doesn't ask questions she might not have an answer for. Instead, he just says, simply, "Do you really want to have this conversation over the phone?"

"I don't have time to come out to Cardiff, Jack," she says, sounding more fond than anything else. Jack grins, though the effect is somewhat lost, he figures, when she can't see it.

"Lucky for you, I don't have this problem." The world is not ending this moment, and if it starts to while he's in London... well, Ianto will call him. "Give me... three hours, give or take?"

"If I told you not to bother, would you actually listen?"

"Not a chance."

*


It's getting dark when the SUV pulls up in front of Martha's flat. Jack's never actually been here before, but he swings out of the car without hesitation, jogging to the front door and rapping his knuckles against it. He's waiting with a grin when Martha opens the door, and entirely unsurprised when she lunges forward and wraps her arms around his neck. "You really didn't have to come," she says, releasing him after a moment and slipping her hand into his to tug him inside.

"Of course not. I try to avoid doing anything I have to." His eyes flicker around what he can see of the flat from the entrance. It's a nice place, even if it does have that slightly empty, not quite lived in feel. He's not surprised - it's the same feel he gets from the homes of every member of Torchwood, save Gwen. The price of lives like theirs. "So... you've got the house to yourself, then?"

"For another month, until Tom gets back." Glancing down the hall, Jack notices the open doors to two seperate bedrooms. His attention snaps back to Martha a moment later as she asks, "Do you want anything? I've... Actually, I can't remember what I have in my kitchen right now. Except for tea. I remember that."

He smirks a little, more fond than anything else, nudges the front door shut behind him and then sweeps past her to drop onto the couch. "You never mentioned where you went," he says, head tilted to one side, expression intent. It is why he's here, after all. That and the quiet strain in her voice when he picked up the phone. "Kind of thought you were through with that."

She sighs, rubbing the bridge of her nose, and her shoulders slump a little. He wonders when the last time she slept was - another thing that you tend to lose track of, with the Doctor. "It was an accident. The TARDIS just sort of... kidnapped us. It was really..."

"Weird?" Jack prompts when she pauses, and she drops her hand, smiling a little.

"Yeah."

"When is it not?"

Her smile stretches a little, slightly reproving to cover real amusement. He likes that smile on her. "Yeah, alright. It's just... I actually started to wonder why I ever left. And then-"

Martha breaks off, frowning to herself. Jack waits a moment, and then raises an eyebrow. "Then?"

"I stopped wondering." Her answer's quiet - too quiet - but it says everything. Details aren't important when they both know how it goes, how after a while the pressure gets to where you can't bear it, you can't breathe through it, how there's the man you love more than life and he just- won't- see... After a while, every wonderful thing you see out there can't balance out the rest of it.

Jack sighs, and reaches out to grab her hand, and pull her down onto the couch beside him. There's nothing he could say but I'm sorry and me too, for all the good those ever do, but she half-falls into the circle of one of his arms, and curls against his side. He closes his eyes for a moment, taking in the small, warm weight of her, and if words aren't enough, maybe this is.
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Aubrey

February 2011

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